[To Mr. M. and Rev. R. M.] London, 25 October 1841.
My dear Friends,
I think your kind attention to me deserved a better remembrance than has appeared. I have not forgotten it, but manifold exercises engage the whole of my attention, and pre-vent much that is due to my friends.
Since I left you, I have been often ready to fear that the Lord had forgotten to be gracious, and that he had shut up his tender mercies. "Changes and war are against me;" nevertheless my heart was continually after him, so that I have acted as I said at Hertford, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." In this exercise the long night of affliction ended with the breaking of the day, and the Sun of Righteousness arose with healing to my soul; but alas, how soon it sets! The days are very short, the nights very long: my sins procure the rod, and I learn to put my mouth in the dust; and when the Lord does condescend to come, I prize it more than I can express.
I am often brought to a stand by the sweet words that the Lord whispers upon my heart, for no sooner am I comforted by them, than another spirit tells me it is all a fable, the power of illusion, and that I shall see nothing will come of them. To my great shame I yield an ear to this, and it brings evil surmising, and makes all my calamities much worse. I often fear I have not a right understanding in the word applied, and think it should surely be fulfilled there and then; I forget the trial of patience, and think the Lord must work my way, though he tells me his ways are not like mine, nor to be compared with them. His ways are always right, and in infinite wisdom; but my ways I am sure would lead headlong to destruction.
These ponderings are the cause of much spiritual intercourse with the Lord, and I am sure create much godly fear, by which I am led to depart from the spirit of the world. In thus secretly mourning and seeking the Lord in his word, in the ministry, and in meditation and prayer, I find he returns with double mercy, and assures my heart he will never leave me nor forsake me. I trust this is the conflict which will end in conquest, and that the arm of the Lord will be revealed in behalf of his afflicted. I am taught most heartily to justify God, and to loathe myself and repent in dust and ashes; and here it is the Lord contends no longer, but pours in the oil and wine; and my confidence and hopes then grow strong, that all shall be well, and that no good thing shall fail of all that the Lord has spoken from the beginning.
Let not this dishearten either of you; it must be a path of great tribulation, but the Lord passed this dark valley before you and perfumed it, so that though you have to walk through it, you will learn in the issue to fear no evil, because his power and presence will comfort you.
From your faithful friend, J. B.